Rest in Peace


“Daniel” went to his Heavenly home recently.

More than likely he died in the adult mental institution where he’s been for the past two years. Possibly in a “laying room,” the same four walls around him day in, day out. Very little interaction.

It’s not his fault. It’s not really even his country’s fault. They were under the Soviet thumb for so long, and their own recovery has not been the easiest. In fact, they’re being invaded again.

How could they possibly have the medical care for their neediest that, say, we do here in the US?

And we? Why do we stand by and let the little ones languish in institutions if we had the means, ability, and love to help them?

And what do we do in our own country to help our neediest? Our disabled? The ones born “different.”

Do we offer them a smile?

Do we encourage them to be the best they can be?

Or do we suggest that their parents have a moral imperative to abort them?

To terminate their lives while their very hearts are beating? For what? That they will be spared a life that’s different–or that we will be spared having to “deal” with them.

The latter, me thinks.

While we as a culture entertain such thoughts, we enlightened wealthy Westerners, no finger of blame can we point at anyone for Daniel living and dying bedridden, age 7, unable to walk on his own or even raise his head.


For Daniel’s sake. For the sake of all of them.

Give them a chance to really live.

Rest in peace, my Ukrainian sweetheart. I prayed for you every day. I rejoice you are now at peace and rest, whole and well at last.

Still here

It would seem from the blog that I have utterly fallen off the face of the earth. This isn’t quite the case. 🙂

I can tell that I’m getting ready to go back to writing. The ideas are starting to flow again and as the weather warms my inclination to knit wool will taper off. I found myself thinking out conversations between Dominic and Joy as I drove across town the other day and I have started listening to a playlist again that I sort of reserved for writing hours.

It’s coming, slowly true, but it’s coming.

Meanwhile we are 24 days from the due date of our daughter. Where did the time go?

Christmas break

I wanted to update you that I shall in all likelihood be taking a writing break until the holidays are over. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (sniff–rest in peace, Andy Williams), but for a lot of us it is the Most Gloriously Hectic Time of the Year. We are hosting family for both Christmas dinner and again around the New Year. We have family driving through who may stop in and we have our own traditions to cultivate, update, or maintain. I may be in and out on this blog and I may even squeeze in a few hundred words now and again, but I refuse to pressure myself to finish by Christmas. You who have encouraged me to continue Joy’s story do not need something that has been rushed through. I promise to return to writing in January when the New Year brings with it a clean slate and plenty of time to concentrate on my projects (instead of baking lists, Christmas cards, wrapping paper, etc). I am always more ready for projects in January. In fact, it was only this past January that I picked up Joy again and finished the first story, and I’m much closer to finishing the sequel so I could almost safely promise that the sequel will be full ready for Easter baskets. But that depends on the leniency of editors. I do want the sequel finished by the time my new baby girl arrives in March. “So let it be written, so let it be done.”

But after Christmas. 😉

Sleep Required

Greetings to all and sundry!

Well it doesn’t rain but it pours. No sooner does one batch of colds end but the baby cuts molars and the big girl starts up with a fever again. All of this to say that my writing time is theirs right now, for they are obviously more important. Fortunately, unlike the bronchitis outbreak in June, I’ve managed to stay well and all I’m out of is sleep. 😉 But soon, very soon, we’ll come out of this and I’ll be writing again. The words are there. They’ll be told.

All things considered I’m doubting my self-imposed deadline of September 8th. The beauty of self-publishing is that you make your own deadlines, and no one is going to be down on you if you have to adjust. I will do what I can to get there, for a dear friend of mine is entering the convent that day and I want her to know “what happens next” before she leaves. If I have to sit down at the phone and tell her everything I will. And then you can read it later. I definitely want to have both books ready by November 10th to sell at a charity fundraiser for church, and also to get ready for Christmas advertising, so rest assured I’m not just sitting back cooling my heels.  Even when I’m pacing the hall with a clingy baby on my shoulder, I can still work out scenes in my head.

It’s much more productive than it otherwise could be.


Cedar Street

As we traveled up to visit my parents for the Independence Day holiday,we cut through a small country town and had to stop at a red light. Looking up at the street sign, I laughed, “oh look, dear, it’s Cedar Street!” In Joy and her sequel, the main characters live on Cedar St. However, this particular street looked as if it had its height in 1961 and never regained it. It was also across from a penitentiary.

“Not exactly how I pictured it,” I mused.

There was a commercial building at the corner. “Is that Maloneys?” my husband teased. “It looks like a bail bond place.”

It was, in fact, a nondescript generic bar offering long necks for 1.99. “I think Dominic could do better than that,” I joked.

Still I wondered whether there was a Cedar Street like I’d imagined, and while out driving one day, I found it. It was in Indiana after all, in a historic district so all the commercial buildings were still preserved in 19th century glory (huzzah! I didn’t see anything that could be Maloneys, but plenty of buildings that could have been the microbrewery). Driving up Cedar, it was as if my imagination had come to life in front of me. All the houses were between the 1880s – 1920s and all well maintained. I could almost picture Peggy Maloney tending a flower garden in front of one house. Were I not leery of stopping to take pictures of homes, I might have done so, but I was also navigating a 12-passenger van in a narrow street with cars parked on either side. Of course, this town wasn’t exactly bordered by corn and soybean fields (perhaps 30 years ago) and it wasn’t at all what I had pictured when I thought of Tudor. But I still drove off with a smile on my face.

Why did this mean so much to me? I guess it was an affirmation that I kept the descriptions real. To an author, it’s immensely satisfying.


The Problem of Classification

My sister and I were having a conversation today, and I mentioned I was hoping to offer Joy and her sequel at a church bazaar this autumn. As the discussion continued, we talked about how difficult it is sometimes to peg a label on a novel like Joy. For example, being a work of Catholic fiction, there wasn’t much choice but to put it under Inspirational Fiction. Being a love story, Christian Romance also applied. But it seemed to me a little banal to put Joy there, as if the product of my sweat, time and heart suddenly got put on the shelf of the Pink Sugar Department. All sweet and no substance (note: not all Christian Romance or Inspirational Fiction belongs on this shelf, either). It was my hope that I could write a decent story but avoid the Pink Sugar.  My sister summed it up for me a bit.

SHE: “Yeah, it’s hard talking about your book because once you say ‘oh, it’s Inspirational Fiction,’ I always feel like I need to add, ‘But it’s real, it’s not Hallmark.'”

ME: [thinking of the Romance label] “Nor is it a Harlequin.”

SHE: “Totally. Nothing starting with H need apply.”

I love sisters. Mine makes me laugh when I need it.

So why did I write Catholic Fiction in the first place? Because I’m Catholic, for one. Because we Catholics need books to read, and the realm of Catholic fiction is sparse. I’m not saying that Joy is the solution to that; please God, don’t let me be that naive. Are my books going to be for Catholics only? No. I already know of some non-Catholics who were gracious enough to give Joy a try and enjoyed the read. I do not separate my faith from my writing because I believe one’s faith should permeate their life. So my characters are Catholic, but they are also human characters. The hero has a human fault. He’s not the tormented demon lover that mainstream fiction seems to relish at the moment (and don’t get me on the subject of Vampires, please), and the things Joy faces in her life are the sort of things that meet up with you or me in everyday life. That is precisely my intent. You won’t find me writing, I hope, anything that couldn’t feasibly occur out there. Some Catholics write harrowing apocalyptical novels, others great and amusing fairy-tale adaptations. I know; I’ve read them. There are Catholic thrillers, Catholic whodunnits, and even apparently a new Catholic novel about philosophy. My niche is the Everyday. I just only wish there was a category label for that.


Checking In

Still here, my friends! Chapter 5 is not done yet, mainly as things picked up a bit after our epidemic last week. I’m still plugging away, though. A good eight hours’ straight sleep, and then about oh, four or five free hours to just write would do the trick. Not that the writing hours have to be consecutive, mind you, but it would be nice if the sleep would be.

Riiight, as if that’s happened much since college. We didn’t know we had it so good back then. 😉


Make Haste!

The crisp new paperback copy arrived in the mail yesterday, waiting for me to sign it and ship it to the lucky winner of the giveaway on Elizabeth’s blog (so hurry and sign up for it if you haven’t yet! A free book is a great way to kick off summer reading, right?).

I was thinking this morning as I sat to update the blogs after a busy week’s hiatus that I really owe a lot to the encouragement of my husband.  He’s indispensable to me in the writing process, helping me to keep my chin up when I’m in a bind, vetting the rough draft to make sure I’m keeping the plot ‘real’ (my personal request), helping me carve out the time to write in a household that hums from sunup to sundown.  And not to mention the indirect inspirations he gives me (i.e. the homebrewing episode).  If you’re wondering why I’m gushing like this, today is our 9th Wedding Anniversary, and today of all days it comes home to me just how blessed I am to have him in my life.

For now and always.

Where ideas come from….

Once upon a time there was a house.  And in that house there was a Christmas tree, and under the tree was a little girl.  To be more specific, she was laying on her stomach on the floor in front of the tree, gazing at her mother’s collection of ceramic Christmas houses, imagining that if they were real, who would live in them?  What would their story be?

Then the little girl grew up.  She obtained a collection of Christmas village pieces of her own (incidentally, these pieces are now garaged as our fifth child is absolutely the most loving kid but nevertheless a human wrecking ball).  And one Christmas, five years ago, she looked at her newest piece and wondered who would own it?  What kind of person would own this tavern?

By the time I started writing, the image of the Pub rather changed a bit (diamond paned windows, the bar being on the right of the front door, green sign, etc.), but in case you’re wondering why there’s an Irish Pub in a Tudor building, there you have it! 😉